I have two choices when I get home. I can spend time with my kids. Or I can clean up the house.
I want to do both. But there is no time for both. I pick up the boys at 415 after a 45 minute commute, we make it home and they play while I cook dinner. Dinner is around 5. Then afterward they run around and play while I try to do everything but never have the time to do it all. And that is on an easy day. A day without doctor’s appointments, grocery runs, karate practice, or bible studies.
Still….my hate for mess, finds me often telling my kids to “wait a minute while I finish [fill in the blank here].”
They want to spend time with me. They want me to push them on the swing or watch them do back flips on the trampoline. They want me to play legos or to look at the spider they found. And I absolutely HATE washing dishes.
Then why? Why do I continually push that time away from them to wash the dreaded dishes? Because in the end, after the dishes are done and dinner is eaten, its time for baths and pajamas and teeth brushing. And bed. And then I am sitting there, missing my kids and wondering how I lost the time.
The dishes can wait, right?
I don’t want my children’s memory of me to always be the one who was around but never really there. When I’m not working, I have time to take them to the park, or read stories to them, or cuddle on the couch watching morning cartoons. It is those days I can say, “wait a minute.” But Monday-Friday, I need to just stop.
I want to wash dishes after they go to bed. And I want to complete one simple, quick chore a day that I can do to keep the house up and get back to being with my kids.
I also need to get my 7-year-old to do a daily chore and get my toddlers participating a bit more. One idea I also came up with after I wrote this is—don’t give them unmonitored free play time while I’m cooking. That is often when they make their biggest messes (especially the toddlers). Instead, I think I will set them up at the kitchen table for some table activities while I cook and Kanan does his homework. Then after dinner we spend 10 minutes cleaning up the room together or with some of my direction as I do my quick chore.
I read this great book last year also called The Get Organized Project by Kathy Lipp. She had great ideas, a lot of which I have applied. But one that I have stopped doing was putting a paper towel roll and a spray bottle of cleaning spray in each bathroom. And that way I can clean it up when the kids are bathing and not have to leave the restroom to get anything (which is often the deal breaker when the thought of cleaning it comes to mind). I can do the same after I use my restroom…just a quick spray and wipe of a counter or toilet after leaving without needing to go out and find all the supplies can make a big difference. By Saturday, I might just have a floor to sweep and that’s it.
Okay so here is a rough plan.
Monday-– Me– wipe down bathroom counters and wash a load of laundry.
Tuesday– Me– fold the load of laundry.
Wednesday— Kanan, h.w and karate. Me– sweep kitchen floor, gym
Thursday–Kanan–h.w, trash and clean bedroom. Me–clear up clutter from living room.
Friday--Kanan–dust. Me–wash a load of laundry.
Saturday-– kanan and me–fold a load of laundry and me–clean a bathroom (we have two).
Sunday-– 20 minutes per room (hubby and wife turbo house clean up).
So what do you other moms, working or non-working, do to keep your house in order with toddlers and the hectic schedules that come with all our many tasks?